Based on a horrible recurring dream I had a couple years ago. Still scars me today.
|Everything was black. How did I end up here? I had been sleeping when I heard a strange noise. I opened my eyes to find myself in this dark space. I was alone…or so I thought. Faintly, I heard footsteps and they were getting closer. I had nothing to defend myself.
“Hello? Is anyone there?”
That voice. I felt my breath catch in my throat. No…what was Thomas doing here?
“Hello. There’s someone here. Thomas? Thomas Poirier?”
Of all the people I’ve had the opportunity to meet, Thomas was a unique case. I had met him through one of my closer friends, Calla. They had met in a class in college and she brought him as a “date” to a wedding. He developed a crush on her, but she didn’t reciprocate the same feelings. She wanted to be friends. Normally, I’d be that person who’d tell them to move on, but I sympathized with him. Calla’s boyfriend wasn’t the nicest person, and I felt she deserved better. I wouldn’t be the one to interfere in her relationship, but after seeing how her boyfriend treated her, I thought Thomas was a stroke of luck. Unfortunately, he never accepted it.
A small, but bright light shined my direction. Squinting, I could see a tall figure standing there.
“Blair? Is that you?” questioned Thomas, taking one step forward.
Thomas and I formed a bond that was indescribable. I viewed him as the brother I never got to have and we would hang out as often as our schedules allowed. We took late night walks together. We would talk for hours (mostly about nothing). But we were so comfortable with each other that we had discussions about everything and anything. Hell…he was even one of the best men in mine and Jonas’ wedding. However, there was a rift with our circle of friends (I honestly can’t even recall the reason) and he was left with me and Jonas as the only friends left from our group.
“Yes.” It was all I managed to choke out as he drew closer. What the fuck was going on? Why were we here? He looked around. It was almost as if he wasn’t sure what he was seeing was reality.
Thomas and I had a falling out 2 years ago. It had started with him leaving my wedding unexpectedly after the ceremony. I refused to show it, but him leaving when he did hurt so much. It felt like being stabbed with no signs of stopping. Things came to their peak with his love life, and I couldn’t deal with how certain things were handled. Without warning, I cut him and his drama from my life. He tried to contact me and say he was sorry. I never acknowledged him. Jonas would speak to him occasionally, which was fine. Again, I don’t dictate who people (including my husband) can and can’t associate. That was his choice. I just didn’t want to be part of it. However, what I didn’t know was that he was at a low point, and he had no one else he could depend on…and the one person who he did trust suddenly removed themselves from their life with no explanation. He was left alone, and I had no idea.
“Yes. It’s Blair. I’m here,” I repeated.
The look in his eyes concerned me. He was clearly distressed and bewildered. His eyes panned down, and they widened in terror mixed with confusion. I looked down as well to see a 9 mm pistol within reach. I could feel my heart fall into my stomach. I didn’t understand why, but this couldn’t be good.
“As you can see, there is a pistol in front of you. Inside this pistol are special bullets,” a mysterious voice spoke. Thomas and I both jumped a little and began looking around the dark room to no avail. His small light wasn’t helping much.
“Depending on what you choose to do, Blair.” I seized up in fear at hearing my name on this stranger’s lips. “It will determine the fate of you or Thomas. The bullets are specially designed to wipe clean the memories of the particular person involved. For example, if you choose to shoot Thomas, all of his memories will be erased and he will have no recollection of you in his life. On the other hand, if you choose to shoot yourself, it will be your memory wipe.”
I could feel myself starting to panic. My breathing became off and it felt like I was suffocating. This had to be some kind of twisted nightmare I was having. All of a sudden, I felt a hand grab mine. I shifted my eyes to see my former friend with my hand in his and stroking the back of my hand gently. He was trying to comfort me, and I felt myself starting to calm down.
“Or we could choose not to play this macabre ‘game’ and walk out of here,” retorted Thomas. Always trying to put on a tough front. It was annoying at times, but in this situation, I found it reassuring.
The dark voice laughed heartily. “You don’t have a choice. You are locked in this room and until that gun is fired, you will remain here. Once a decision is made, you cannot reverse the decision. I wish you luck, Blair.”
I continued to gaze into nothing within the dark space we were trapped within. His expression shifted slightly from angry to concerned. I felt him staring at me intensely. Like he was trying to silently get my attention. I turned to adhere his order. His blue eyes stared deep into my own as if trying to seek some kind of answer. The world hadn’t been kind to him for a few years. But it felt like whatever I said to him or whenever I assured him, he listened. There were times it felt like I was the only one he trusted.
“We’ll get out of this. Neither one of us will have to deal with this,” he whispered, but I could tell he was lying to himself. He never sounded so unsure in all the years I had known him.
All I could do is stare at him. Out of all the close people in my life, why Thomas? To put me through more torture? I was still furious at what he had done those few years ago; the biggest reason I severed our friendship. I had no idea what to do. I was conflicted and that alone was making me angry.
“Why did it have to be you!?” I screamed. “Why couldn’t it have been anyone else? Why in the fuck did it have to be you?!”
In that moment, I could have cared less what he thought of me and what the consequences would be for saying that. My mind was a blur of emotions. I didn’t know what to do. I know if I shoot him…all those memories we made together…all we had been through together…would be gone. I may have been furious with him at the moment, but what if that changed? What if we made up as friends and things went back to how they once were? Could I manage to risk that?
“Blair,” said Thomas. “You do what you have to do. I haven’t been a good friend as of late. I’ve come to regret the choices I made that led to you breaking off our friendship. I wouldn’t be friends with me either after the shitty way I was behaving.”
He exhaled deeply and stared past me, lost in thought. “If I had listened to you, then Scarlett and I could still be friends, Calla wouldn’t hate me and I’d have a support group of friends to rely on during those hard times.”
“It’ll be okay, Thomas,” I said.
I was lying to myself; this was not okay. How could I bring myself to shoot him? His memories of me would be erased. He could keep the memories he made with the rest of our group. That part made me feel better. But I felt like I would be doing him a favor. I would erase him ever knowing me. I felt like it was me who corrupted him. I felt like it was my fault for a lot of his current flaws.
“It’ll be okay,” he stated. “Everything will be all right.” I turned away from him and made an attempt to compose myself.
“Look!” I snapped. “Don’t tell me it’ll be okay. I would gladly point the gun to my own head…but then you’d be the one left with the memories. I’ve already hurt you enough as it is. I can’t bear to hurt you ever again.” Angry tears streamed down my face. I started beating my fists against the wall in frustration. This was bullshit.
I heard him sigh. “Not great choices. What a shit situation.” I heard his footsteps drawing closer to me. “However, what I do know,” Thomas gently grasped my shoulders, forcing me to turn and face him. He looked somber, but there was a hint of optimism in his eyes. “Is that you’re strong and will do the right thing. It’s one of your most admirable traits. You know what’s best for people, even if it’s not the preferred choice. You are reasonable. You’re compassionate. At the end of the day, you know what needs to happen. I will never hold your decision against you.”
I pulled myself away and made my way to the table to pick up the gun. I started examining it and starting letting my thoughts drift. There were too many moments of our friendship going through my head, both good and bad. The one that stuck out the most was when he got dumped by one of his past girlfriends. She left him in the town they had met up in and he had no way back. He called Jonas to come pick him up. I remember hearing the pain in his voice. I joined him in picking up Thomas. When we got to him, he was sitting on the street curb, sobbing. He climbed in the backseat with me and hugged me. I remember him telling me that we were the best friends he could ever ask for and that he was grateful for that.
“Who knows,” his voice brought me back to the present. “If it’s meant to be, we’ll come back into each other’s lives and be friends again.”
I wiped away my tears and took a deep breath. As I faced him, I aimed the gun at him. “I’m so sorry. I hope you’re right and we can meet again one day.”
I pulled the trigger. I fell to my knees and watched as he took a few steps back due to the reaction of the shot. He didn’t appear to be in pain; he reacted as if he had received an electrical shock. He gripped his hands to the sides of his head and closed his eyes. Slowly going to the ground until he was on his knees, Thomas began muttering something to himself. I continued to watch. Maybe this was just all a ruse. He opened his eyes and looked around the room before seeing me in front of him. He looked puzzled at my appearance.
“Hello. Do you know where we are? I’m Thomas. Thomas Poirier,” he reached his hand out to shake mine. He didn’t seem concerned at all as to the current situation. It would have made me feel better if I was oblivious as well.
Slowly, I moved my own hand forward to shake his before clearing my throat. The tears were threatening to return. “Hey Thomas. No, I do not know where we are. I’m Blair. Blair Lutz.”
“Never heard that name before. It’s distinct,” he gave me a brief smile before something bright caught our attention. A door was opening, showing us an intensely lit up hallway. “Hey. I wonder if that’s how we get out of here. Let’s go check it.” He stood up and started walking to the open door.
“You’re free to go now. You did the right thing, Blair.” The mysterious voice breathed into my ear as I watched him draw closer to the door.
“But at what cost?” I said into the darkness.